Is progress always positive?

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Thank you « chbo78″ for suggesting these videos! They really help illustrate the negative aspects of the idea of progress: what negative impacts can progress have on our society and on our planet?

« Can we auto-correct humanity? »

« Dear future generations: sorry » 

« Why I think this world should end »

This is what I want this blog to be about: helping each other and sharing ideas (without paying!!)

Keep contributing!!

Another interesting report on the bad effects a smartphone can have on your sleep:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26899454

Red Nose Day – Friday 13th March 2015

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On Friday 13th March 2015 it’s Red Nose Day in the UK! But what exactly is Red Nose Day and why does it take place?

The first Red Nose Day (RND) was held on 5 February 1988, when it was launched as a National Day of Comedy, and since then they have been on the second or third Friday in March. Red Nose Day is often treated as a semi-holiday for example, many schools have red-themed non-uniform days. The day culminates in a live telethon event on BBC One, starting in the evening and going through into the early hours of the morning, but other money-raising events take place. As the name suggests, the day involves the wearing of red noses which are available, in exchange for a donation, from supermarkets and charity shops.

Here are a few articles and links about this fun day!

A reading comprehension on the British Council website

The Official Red Nose Day Page

The official Comic Relief Page

Have some fun here

Improve your listening comprehension!

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To help improve your listening comprehension here are a few links to pages where you will find videos in English. Please feel free to add any other links in the comments below!

– the brilliant website : http://film-english.com/ which is updated regularly (and also gives lesson plans for teachers!)

– the British Council video zone – with listening comprehension exercises

– the British Council video UK – short videos about life and culture in the UK

– the BBC 6-minute English

– ESL listening comprehension – short film clips with listening comprehension exercises

Post your favourite English videos below!

The Ebola outbreak

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The Ebola outbreak is currently in the news and even more so now that several cases have been detected in the USA.

What exactly is Ebola? Is there a cure to this deadly disease? How can countries work together to reduce the risk of the disease spreading?

Ebola – or Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) – is a really deadly virus: 50% to 90% of people who catch it die from it. But there are a few forms of the virus which have been identified by scientists and given the right medical care and treatment, you can recover. Ebola was first spotted in the African countries of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. In the space of five months in that year, 284 people in Sudan caught the virus. It killed 117 of them.

You can catch it through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person such as blood and saliva. It is not airborne like the flu so is more difficult to catch but is very infectious: so infected people have to be kept separate to reduce the risk of it spreading. Healthcare workers who have looked after sick patients have also been infected.

For the moment there is no known cure however a new experimental drug, ZMapp, has been used in the US on health workers and a UK nurse who caught the disease in Africa. They recovered from the virus.

The World Health Organization warns greater global efforts are needed to combat the Ebola virus, which is spreading ever faster in West Africa despite efforts to contain it. Barack Obama and EU leaders took part in a videoconference on Wednesday 15th October to discuss the growing Ebola crisis following warnings that the outbreak could grow to 10,000 new cases a week within two months. They discussed what further action can be taken to help stop the spread of the virus in west Africa and how passengers arriving from Africa can be screened to prevent the disease spreading further.

Here are a few videos that explain more about this outbreak.

What is Ebola? – in 60 seconds 

An interactive video : Ebola – the virus posing a deadly threat to millions

Documents, videos and articles on the BBC website

Progress towards a vaccine : video

Vocabulary exercises about vaccines

Ideas for a debate about compulsory vaccinations

Definition of Places and Forms of Power (mise à jour février 2014)

Il est souvent difficile de trouver des idées pour illustrer chaque notion. N’oubliez pas que certains sujets peuvent être utilisés pour illustrer 2 ou même 3 notions – prenons comme exemple l’histoire de Rosa Parks:

– (myths et héros) une figure emblematique de la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale aux États-Unis

http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/civilrights/terms.html

– (lieux et formes de pouvoir) les raisons de la lutte contre la ségrégation raciale aux Etats Unis

– (idée du progrès) – comparaison des conditions de vie des afro-américains pendant les années 60 avec les conditions aujourd’hui (un président noir).

Voici donc quelques idées de sujets pour illustrer la notion « Lieux et formes de pouvoir ».

Places and forms of power

« Places » could be important buildings or institutions that represent a certain form of power, for example Buckingham Palace – a symbol of the British monarchy, the White – a symbol of the American presidency.

A place can also be a country or a state –  for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world.

What exactly is power?

It is the ability to control others, events, or resources; the ability to make things happen despite obstacles, resistance, or opposition. This of course leads to conflict between those who have power and those who don’t.

Resistance to power

There are many examples of resistance to power:

the African-American civil rights movement (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Junior, Malcom X….)

Videos to watch:

– Biography of Rosa Parks

Song « Sister Rosa » about Rosa Parks

– Presentation of the characters from the book and film « The Help » (la Couleur des Sentiments):

trailer from the  film « The Butler »

– interesting page with lots of links about the film « The Butler »

the struggle for liberation in South Africa (Apartheid, Nelson Mandela)

the Suffragettes’ fight for women’s right to vote

Video « Bad romance » : a parody music video paying homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920.

Women’s rights movement in the US

 The ability to influence others

The power of the media

If we look at the power of the media for example we can see how much it can influence the public opinion. The mass media plays an important role in forming our personality, enriching our knowledge, providing us with information of any kind.
Mass media can have an effect on our personal identity: it can help us to feel that we are part of a group (social networks) but on the other hand it can contribute to a feeling of isolation.

Media can have a strong political influence or can shape the way we perceive certain groups of society – minority groups, pressure groups…mass media is powerful because it makes us believe what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (reality TV).

However it can also have harmful impact on society:

– On-screen violence leading to actual violence (violent video games/films)

– Identity or financial fraud on the internet people to fraud, especially identity fraud.

– the dangers for children who are able to access Internet material inappropriate for their age.

– The Internet can facilitate an invasion of privacy – (chat rooms, social networks, bullying)

Economic and political power

– The European Union – past, present and future

– the « superpowers » ( states with a dominant position in the international system with the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests – e.g. USA)

– emerging countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China, are now playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, with this group of four powerful developing economies sometimes referred to as the BRIC countries)

The power of guns

– The debate on gun control in the USA

Finally an interesting quote to illustrate this notion:

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